Veterans Ordered To Repay VA In Overpayments
Veterans are often worried about getting benefit checks from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, many veterans are facing another issue: being ordered to repay five or six figures.
That’s right — Thousands of low-income veterans are being told that they were overpaid in their pension payments and now they need to pay back the extra funds. One veteran has been asked to repay $100,000.
Once the man turned 62 years old, he received pension payments from the VA and Social Security. He received roughly $2,400 a month, which wasn’t a lot but allowed him to make do and meet his needs.
However, that all changed when he received a letter informing him of an overpayment. A letter from the VA stated that his entitlement to compensation and pension benefits has changed because he was overpaid $108,094. To pay back the debt, the VA plans to withhold $221 each month from his pension to pay back his debt, starting in March 2024.
The veteran called the VA and got the runaround, but was eventually told that he was overpaid because he collected Social Security benefits without the VA’s knowledge. The VA claimed that the veteran did not report it, but there is documentation stating that the man was collecting Social Security at the time.
What doesn’t make sense is that this has been going on for 10 years. The man had been racking up an extra $10,000 in Social Security benefits every year but he was not aware there was an issue.
The man, who will be 72 in January, thinks it a bit late for the VA to try to collect $108,000 from him. He doesn’t know what took the VA so long to notice. After a decade, why now?
The VA claims that for 11 years, there was an issue that didn’t allow the department to verify the income of veterans. There were discrepancies in data matching from 2011 to 2022. This means that the VA was unable to verify the self-reported federal income of veterans and survivors receiving pensions. Income verification resumed in July 2022, so it was determined at that time that approximately 9,900 beneficiaries had higher income levels than self-reported.
This resulted in VA pension overpayments that spanned many years. The VA provides pension payments to veterans who have low income. Income levels are based on what the veterans report. The VA also verifies the self-reported income using data matching.
The veteran never reported that he was collecting Social Security because he didn’t think he had to. He assumed he would be notified if there was an issue, given that all his income comes from federal agencies.
The VA has been questioned about the hardship that repaying these debts will cause to veterans. The agency said it is pausing its debt collection efforts until they determine the correct path forward. It is also in the process of reviewing the data discrepancies and why they took so long to address.
Learn More About Veterans Benefits
Veterans have already paid their dues. They should not have to be stressed out about overpayments. They cannot possibly afford to repay six figures.
Having issues with your veterans benefits? Seek legal help from a White Plains veterans disability benefits lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. We have experience with complex cases. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call 914-294-2145.